Kevin and Ashley: Rapid City Engagement Photographer

Kevin and Ashley, I am so happy we got to spend this afternoon together! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to make this (very fun) day happen. So excited about your wedding day! Enjoy a few of my favorites. —js


Ashley, what’s your favorite thing about Kevin?
I like shopping second hand; Kevin’s profile pic was of him in his new convertible.  Our first date was relaxing and our conversation easy, but I worried that Kevin was more refined than myself.  That when he saw my stark, thrift store decorated apartment, he’d have second thoughts.  It wasn’t that he was willing to try something new or that he is a voice of reason to balance my sometimes whimsy ideas that makes our relationship work.  The way Kevin and I communicate to share ideas, interests and even challenge each other is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.  Kevin’s personality and way of looking at the world complements my own.  He took on the challenge to set up my $10 garage sale purchase of a projector and screen in our dining room, I’ve fallen in love with evening drives in his car, and I’m a better traveler when I’m with him, even my parents agree.  He takes my ideas and helps me make something of them that we can share together, all while making me laugh and see the world in a way I never could have managed on my own. 

You knew you’d marry him when… 
Part of what made our first date so cool was how much we shared about our dreams and goals, both personally and professionally; I maybe had a hint then that this relationship had some real potential.  Kevin and I are both busy people, but I’ve never felt like our relationship has gotten in the way of new goals or that our jobs have gotten in the way of our relationship.  We’ve never prevented each other from reaching toward something, and that was certainly true when Kevin took a job in Pierre, thereby expanding the miles in our already long-distance relationship.  We were over an hour and a half apart for the first two years, so every moment we spent together was something special.  Sensing I was having a hard week, there was one time after he moved when he surprised me by jumping in the car and driving the three hours so we could share less than a day together.  He also knew that my smile would be even brighter when I opened the door if I saw not only him, but also our cat.  I knew I’d marry him when I looked back and realized not only how much fun I have when I’m with him, but how open, kind and genuine he is when life gets hard. 

Kevin, what’s your favorite thing about Ashley?
The lens that I look at the world through is a well-blazed trail that is lit in black and white. The lens Ashley uses is fascinating. She is always full of new ideas and ambitions – creativity is her super power. She sees a problem and knows that by doing her part she can make a difference. She spurs people to try new things – often of her own culinary creation. Ashley sees the strengths in her students and gives them the space and support to cultivate them. Best of all, she challenges me – because of her I am a better person. She shares her magical lens and makes me the best version of myself.

You knew you’d marry her when…
Our first date was simple and felt so wonderful – I had an inkling that good things were in store for us. We proceeded to have memorable dates—such as when we ended up helping search and rescue locate a man lost in Custer Park. Since Ashley was teaching an hour and a half away in Pine Ridge, I often only had our evening phone conversations to look forward to. She would visit me in Rapid City most weekends and if she could hitch a ride with a Jesuit who was coming to town, she would. After a couple of months, I realized that I couldn’t imagine looking at the upcoming weeks, months, or years and not have her be a part of them. So when did I know I would marry her? Last Tuesday, yesterday, today, and every day since the day she slipped in as a character in my biography.


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Adam & Nicole: Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer

Nicole and Adam, I’m so happy it was me that got to be a part of your wedding day! It was incredible, and there’s nothing better than a bride and groom who can’t stop smiling (that’s you!). Thank you for having me, and for making me want to smile right alongside you. Enjoy a few of my favorites! —js

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What was the most memorable moment from your wedding day? 

Nicole Says: Our wedding day was absolutely perfect! Can we go back and do it all again?! My favorite moment of the day was walking up to see Adam for the first time. I had been feeling pretty calm for the majority of the day, but when we were walking down to see him, all my nerves hit me at once. Once I finally got to the spot we were meeting and I saw how handsome he looked, all my emotions took over. I am grateful we had this time together before the wedding. It is a moment I will cherish forever.

Adam Says: I think all the moments leading up to and including the first look. Once I started getting dressed my nerves kicked into overdrive. Sitting in my room wondering when, where, how it was all going to go down. I had a thousand thoughts a second rolling through my mind. When I opened Nikki’s gift to me and it ended up being something obviously meant for her dad, all those nerves were flushed from my body and I was able to laugh and enjoy what was about to come. Soon after, we went outside and enjoyed our first look and it was the perfect start to our perfect day.

Jessica’s Take: There was so much about this day that made my heart want to burst! I always feel like the toasts at the reception say a lot about the couple getting married and the people who love them most—and the toasts given by their maid of honor and best man were amazing. I was laughing and nearly crying and feeling such joy along with all of their guests. And my other favorite moment is a surprise for the bride and groom, and is at the very end of this post!

What was your favorite detail of the wedding day?

Nicole Says: I can’t just choose one! I think the little details are all my favorite!! I did LOVE my dress though. The mix between the sparkle and lace was a perfect combination. A close second would be the flowers. When you entered the church you could smell the fragrant flowers we had lined down the aisle.  I was also in awe of our wedding cake when we entered the reception. I didn’t know exactly how it would turn out, but it was beautiful.

Adam Says: The string quartet was pretty awesome, even though we didn’t get to enjoy them very long. That’s something I could’ve sat and enjoyed for hours if given the chance.

Jessica’s Take: I loved Nicole’s necklace, which she had made for her wedding day with her grandmother’s diamond. It was stunning, and I love when heirlooms are included.

Any advice for other couples planning a wedding?

Nicole Says: Have fun with the process, don’t worry about insignificant details. On your wedding day, take time to look around the room and take in the beauty of your wedding. Look around the room at all the people who love you and are there to celebrate with you. The love in the room will overwhelm you.

Adam Says: Hire a wedding planner and use their preferred vendors. It really sets your special day up for success. While most people are worried about decorating/cleanup of the venue, you’ll be able to use that extra time with your guests, friends and family because the wedding planner is taking care of all of that. Everyone says how fast it goes and that’s no joke. Enjoy the day and all the hard work your bride put into planning it!

What’s the best part about being married so far?

Nicole Says: Adam’s cooking! Ha! No, I love doing life with Adam. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.  Being with Adam everyday and starting to build our lives together has been the best part of being married so far.

Adam Says: Knowing I’ll be waking up next to Nikki’s dimply, smiling face every day for the rest of my life. Also, not having some sort of wedding planning taking up all of our free time. Now we’re free to just enjoy each other and start planning our life together.


 

 

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3…2…1…HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

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Aaron & Emily: Rapid City Wedding Photographer

Emily and Aaron, I don’t think I can put into words how much I enjoyed being alongside you and your families on this day. Your joy and kindness are unmatched, and I am thrilled that this day is only the beginning for you. Enjoy a few of my favorites! —js

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What was the most memorable moment from your wedding day?

Emily Says: So many moments have trickled through my mind since that day, and I can’t stop smiling. One of my favorites was saying my vows to Aaron. I had thought about those words for so long, and I anxiously awaited the day I got to say them to my husband forever. It was certainly emotional,  but the grace of peace and pure joy overcame as I saw Aaron staring back at me, listening with utter confidence.

Aaron Says: Watching Emily walk up the aisle with her dad. I’m not usually a fan of being in front of groups of people, but to see everyone in that room focusing on Emily, in complete support of what we were committing to each other. Being able to read out loud a full declaration of love and commitment is incredible.

Jessica’s Take: Early in the day, I was taking a portrait of Emily. She was looking into my lens, and all of a sudden burst into an almost-laugh-kind-of-smile. She said she couldn’t help it. “I can’t stop smiling!” I get so excited about my work when moments like that unfold. (I feel like those of you that love her are reading this and picturing her face and hearing her voice, knowing exactly what that moment was like.)  The first look with Emily’s dad and brothers was also especially memorable.

 

What was your favorite detail of the wedding day?

Emily Says: I loved the flowers. They were beyond creative and unique, which I have my uncle and his team at Arts and Flowers in Minneapolis to thank. They even included one of my favorite flowers, peonies, from New Zealand, which is where we are honeymooning.

Aaron Says: I was amazed at how well the wood wall and the flowers worked together. It was completely unplanned but one of those things that really stands out when it finally all comes together.

Jessica’s Take: The visual elements of this wedding were unreal. I think I most loved the contrast between the incredible flowers and the simple, elegant lines of Emily’s dress.

 

Any advice for other couples planning a wedding? 

Emily Says: You won’t hear it enough, but enjoy the process and focus on the meaning of having a wedding. You get to plan a celebration of one of the greatest adventures God has created for you, and it’s important to remember the truth when it’s so easy to let the stress of details and coordinating items overpower. It’s a beautiful balance.

Aaron Says: Find peace in the fact that everything will work out on the day of. There will be so much build up and planning you do together and in your own head that eventually falls by the wayside and falls together perfectly. The destination lives up to all expectations, the journey is underrated.

 

What’s the best part about being married so far? 

Emily Says: Being one! We are a family, and the reality and excitement of uniting together for life is pretty amazing. It’s surreal every day. We have been blessed to travel for an extended time in New Zealand, and so far, it’s been awesome as we adventure everyday, make trusted decisions together, and live in the simplicity of what is set before us on our journey. Also, I’m Mrs. Ashley! Still getting used to hearing the new name. ;)

Aaron Says: Having a best friend to count on.  Having someone there to pull you up when you are down, and celebrate the exciting moments of life. Making memories together, that can be shared with children in the future.

 

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Tony & Melissa: Rapid City Engagement Photographer

Tony and Melissa, I can’t believe how lovely this fall day turned out to be, but I am not at all surprised at how much I enjoyed hanging out with you and your beloved Louie. Looking forward to the year ahead! Enjoy a few of my favorites! —js

 

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Melissa, what’s your favorite thing about Tony?

There are so many things that I love about Tony… he’s an amazing cook, he’s determined, and he’s probably the most respectful man I know. But my absolute favorite thing about him has got to be the way he makes me feel. From day one, I have always been able to be completely myself around him, whether that’s serious, emotional or completely silly. I’ve never felt more safe and cared for, and that’s the best feeling.

You knew you’d marry him when… 

I knew from our first date that Tony was someone special, we just clicked so perfectly. I remember laying in bed one night early on in our relationship and tearing up because I just knew he was the one for me. I still get choked up when I think about how lucky I am to have found the perfect person to build a life with.

Tony, what’s your favorite thing about Melissa? 

My favorite thing about Melissa is that no matter what comes along in life , I know we can get through it together. She will always be there for me and support me through the good times and bad times. She can turn a bad day into a good one and I know I can talk to her about anything.

You knew you’d marry her when… 

I knew I would marry Melissa early on in our relationship when she was living in Lead. I would drive up to Lead to see her on the weekends and would think about asking her to marry me while I was driving.

 

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Seth & Adriel: South Dakota Wedding Photographer

Seth and Adriel, I could tell you that after spending your wedding day with you, I wanted to be best friends forever. But that might be weird, so I’ll keep it to myself (although I’ve already had some lockets engraved…). This day was everything a wedding day should be; full of the most important things (which aren’t things at all), and about what mattered most—the two of you, the beginning of a marriage, and the people dearest to your hearts. Thank you for asking me to be a part of it. Enjoy a few of my favorites! —js

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What was the most memorable moment from your wedding day?

Adriel Says: There are a few moments that will always stick with me from the day. Having all my friends and family out at my grandma’s house to get ready for the wedding was one of the best parts of the day for me. Being surrounded by the women who have helped me to become who I am today was an incredible way to start the festivities. Saying our vows to each other in the ceremony was another favorite of the day. One of the images that really sticks out is the smile on my grandma’s face as she danced all night. I’ve never seen her happier and it made all the details and planning worth it.

Seth Says: First look, hands down.  I’ll never forget turning around to see Adriel standing there outside her Grandma’s house, it took my breath away.  She was absolutely stunning and the moment was almost surreal, I couldn’t believe we were there that day, there for us, it took everything I had to walk slowly to her when I wanted to sprint and scoop her up in my arms.

Jessica’s Take: Getting to be a fly on the wall when Adriel practiced her vows at her grandma’s home was such a privilege, and quickly became a moment where I’m reminded of how much I love my job. And also, after Seth and Adriel ate dinner, we had some time to take photographs away from the party. After the sun went down, what had been a cloudy gray sky turned brilliant blue and pink. I loved that they got to have a minute to stop and take it in.


What was your favorite detail of the wedding day?

Adriel Says: My dress.

Seth Says: Adriel’s dress (and SHOES!!)

Jessica’s Take: I loved that they opted for a food truck (Nosh), and I adored the tiny glass bottles filled with lavender and herbs at each reception table. And I’m with them (and everyone), Adriel’s dress was perfect for this day.


Any advice for other couples planning a wedding?
 

Adriel Says: It’s a lot of work. Any silly family dynamics that you may experience at a family reunion/holidays will probably also show up at your wedding. Also, I am so happy we got married where we did, but having a reception in an empty room without staff took a lot more coordinating than I expected. I just went to a wedding reception at a restaurant and the brides didn’t have to worry about food, drinks, ice, silverware, etc. They seemed much more relaxed than I felt as a result.

Seth Says: Just roll with it.  There are going to be a wealth of small changes heading your way on the few days leading up to your special day.  Keep the big picture in mind, let the small changes go by and be happy with the result.  You won’t notice the small differences and neither will your guests.  The important thing is you and your partner, being there with your family and friends.  Everything else is just extra.

What’s the best part about being married so far? 

Adriel Says: The best part about being married is that you don’t have to plan a wedding! Just kidding! Kind of. Seth and I were so so ecstatic the days immediately following the wedding. It is so exciting and fun to have a husband. I love putting our energy post wedding into creating our life routines and new family traditions. It’s incredible to be planning the future with someone with no end in sight. There’s a slightly new and very wonderful feeling of stability as we look toward our future together as a family.

Seth Says: Everything.  Yes that is a total cop out answer, I know, but it’s true.  Things don’t change much when you are married but they seem more significant.  I think it is knowing that we have both truly committed ourselves to one another and that we get to plan for a future that will exist rather than be a figment of one’s imagination.  Coffee shared in the morning while sitting by the window, holding hands walking to work, they’re small things we did before we wed but they are so special to me now.  I know this will be the hand I hold walking to work forever and the coffee mate I’ll have every time I can.  I just love how nothing really changes, yet all of it does.

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